B.C. Liberal house leader Mike de Jong is sworn in by Lt. Gov. Judith Guichon Monday. (B.C. GOVERNMENT)

B.C. Liberals could stall all summer, Weaver warns

Mike de Jong says NDP-Green deal ‘very much in doubt’

The NDP-Green alliance could govern B.C. starting next week if they were given the opportunity to defeat the B.C. Liberal minority, Green Party leader Andrew Weaver says.

And he fears the delay by Premier Christy Clark in appointing a cabinet and recalling the legislature could only be the start of procedural delays that could avoid the defeat of the B.C. Liberal government through the summer.

Weaver and B.C. Liberal house leader Mike de Jong traded criticisms Thursday, de Jong from outside the Vancouver cabinet offices and Weaver from the B.C. legislature. De Jong scoffed at the suggestion made the previous day by Weaver and NDP leader John Horgan that parliamentary tradition demands the B.C. Liberals appoint a speaker when the legislature convenes June 22, and keep that MLA in the job after they are defeated and the NDP-Green partnership takes power.

“That’s bizarre commentary, and there is absolutely no authority whatsoever for that proposition,” said de Jong, holding up a textbook of parliamentary practice.

Weaver changed his position on the need for a B.C. Liberal speaker on Thursday, arguing that the alliance could function even if it put forward an NDP MLA to preside over the legislature. Standing orders allow the same MLA to serve as chair of committees, allowing the NDP and Greens to pass legislation with a bare majority of 44 seats to 43 and the speaker breaking tie votes, he said.

De Jong and Premier Christy Clark have said they have sworn in a 22-member cabinet and are preparing a throne speech for June 22 to “test the confidence” of the legislature. A vote of confidence on that throne speech could take place as early as June 29, but Weaver says the B.C. Liberals could use other tactics, including introducing legislation and forcing debate on that to avoid the throne speech vote.

They could play these games, drag the session out, put up legislation and drag it out all summer,” Weaver said.

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